Sunday 28 November 2010

Not Norwich Man

Today was the long-awaited day of the Norwich half marathon but! They cancelled it. Or rather, postponed it. On account of the cold weather probably: it has been bitterly cold these past few days, with very thin snow underfoot and the ground hard frozen. And, as I discovered, ice on the river, though thin. Yesterday, James phoned to say it was postponed, and indeed the website confirmed that, so I was left to ponder what to do.

And the result was: go running anyway, since it was a glorious (if cold) day. Miriam took D and E to see "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" so this was either my excuse for avoiding it, or a hard-made choice to run instead, depending on what you believe.

My plan (if I had one) was to tun out to Baits Bite lock, which is about 10 km from Coton at about 5 min-per-km and then back at 5:15. Which would put me under my previous best of 1:51:38 at Grunty Fen. Jogging to my warm-up I met Ross and Fizz, who had just done a 1/4 I think; and on the towpath I think I passed James, who must have been doing the full half, so to speak.

I gave some though to what to wear - it is so difficult, you know, what colour? And settled on tracksters, a long-sleeved but thin top (the Grunty Fen one is good) and thin gloves. This was about right; and more and I'd have been hot. While running it was fine; when I walked back through the village I got rather cold and was grateful for M arriving to give me a lift.

I wasn't really feeling fast today, somehow. Maybe not enough warm-up; maybe just chance. Not flowing, as the run last wednesday had been. Nonetheless I got to Baits Bite (exactly 10 k, having started at the Footpath) in 49:51, which was the plan, and then continued up, getting to 11k just as the last house. But I'd slowed down. I pushed it somewhat on the towpath back and got my time down again, but was feeling tired as I went through town, looking forward to just having a few k left. Then with about 2 k to go I pushed too hard and hurt my right calf to the point where I stopped to walk for 100 m; eventually I realised I might just as well limp to the line and did so, missing my Grunty Fen time by 40 secs. Ah well, today it was not to be. Still it was an awful lot better than Peterborough; and perhaps with a race to pull me along in the second half I'd have done better. Looking at my heart rate I see I was around 170, which I think is a fraction low for a really good run - needs to be up around 180 I think. But it wasn't there today.

2010-11-weight Oh *and*, when I got back, I was 72 kg. Hurrah, another new record. Look at that line: when I get to work I'll fit a regression to it and find out when I hit zero. See those 3 minima in the line? Those are Gunty Fen, Peterbough, and now. Running is good for you :-)

Saturday 27 November 2010

On meeting a chap called Adrian

After this week's 10k with Andy and James we walked along the river from Sepura to Chesteron to the Green Dragon which is quite close to Andrew and Sarah but (a) I know they don't go there and (b) I'm not one for trying to merge groups of friends. Though maybe I should one day. Anyway, we were just getting our pints (Valiant, which seems to be Batemans; I thought it only so-so) when we saw Emma (who used to run with Andy quite a bit but I think is off running at the moment; andway, she had just had her nails done) who waved us over and we sat down with her and an old bloke, who turned out to be (a) Adrian and (b) unknown to all of us including Emma.

So instead of the expected quiet evening of the three of us intensively discussing running, rowing, and the like we ended up with a slightly odd conversation including this new bloke. Which I wouldn't be bothering to write about if it hadn't been interesting, in an odd sort of expecting-one-thing-and-getting-something-totally-different way. But not in the way that Daniel, this evening, was expecting an olive in his bread and instead, due to M, got an olive soaked in Jalapeno essence. It wasn't as relaxing as it otherwise would have been, but both I and James and perhaps Andy too talked a little of things we would not otherwise have done: explaining background to a stranger that we didn't know was missing to friends.

The Green Dragon itself is OK, no more and no less. In the summer it is nice to drink by the river, though the beer garden is actually tucked away in a rather awkward corner on the bend that means you don't see the river very well. Sometimes it gets used as a CSR lunchtime pub. That night, there was only one totally off-his-face customer, who might well have been de-skulled by drugs; but he was under control. The rest of the place was fine; the beer was what I had, or IPA, or Abbot, which isn't quite the range of choice you'd get in the Castle.

Other life, since I'm here: it has been cold recently. A few people off work with related sniffles; cycling to work (or back in the dark) has not been something I look forward to. This morning even a light dusting of snow, though only light. Tomorrow's Norwich half marathon is postponed into the New Year - I was wondering how running in freezing temperatures would work out; how much to wear, etc. But I'll probably find out anyway, as unless it is horrible I'm planning on running the distance along the towpath. Maybe I'll even cycle into Cambridge so I can start along the towpath - there's a thought - thus avoiding the tedious bit along the footpath from Coton and instead seeing interesting new ground out to Bottisham. Though I'm not sure it remains as runnable. Well, I'll let you know if I do anything interesting.

On thursday, to the Junction (which is a bit of a dump next to an echoing windy square) to hear Bellowhead. Who were excellent. I still think that Hedonism is them losing their way a bit - eh, when I were a lad, I remember hearing Spiers and Boden perform "Rambling sailor" at the folk festival and they were utterly mesmerisingly brilliant. By comparison, Bellowhead are merely the best live band, 2010. But on thursday they didn't just (or even I think mostly) play Hedonism.

Sunday 21 November 2010

Winter Head

A misty late-autumn day. Cold. Boat house at 10:30, misc chatter: I'm a bit late but not the latest; some of the Peterhouse ladies are also boating. This is the second crew, mostly (except me maybe :-)) and William D is rowing twice: M1 were meeting at 7:30 (ugh) and got 9:06 (we discover later; our time turned out to be 10:11). We were: James T (cox); Gary Dadd (stroke); me; William D; Will W; Dave B; Michael S; Andi R; Simon (bow).

Overall not a strong crew and the weaknesses were obvious as we rowed up to the start (since James T was coxing we rowed up faster than most, weaving through gaps that others dared not use, but I don't think he did anything unreasonable and indeed he probably helped the flow): the balance was iffy and we were short; I think those were the main flaws. However by the time of the actual race we'd managed to cohere enough to put in a decent performance.

There was some hope of us winning the novice category, but our true objective was to avoid being run down by the Churchill ladies behind us; this we achieved with ease (they got 10:25). Novice winners were champs in 9:37, so we were a way adrift from them; but M1 could have won it by dropping Southgate.

As we rowed up past Stourbridge common I was surprised to see the number of off-Cam crews boating; but I think I remember this from last year. Not quite sure why this particular event attracts so much off-Cam interest. UEA, Norwich, Merton, a forces crew, Imperial, etc. We were marshalled just above the motorway bridge, and we got the non-towpath side, which made going for a pee tricky. I found that I could just roll enough to wee discretely over the side. We sat around for ages, it was grey overhead and cold. Then they send the first 12 crews up to spin and race; so we had a great vantage point for watching their starts. And a mixed bag they were too. Then our turn; we span, backed down a bit to give ourselves a run-up, and were off. City, ahead of us, managed to clip Grassy and we had the pleasure of overtaking them down the reach. Even better, we didn't fall apart whilst doing so.

Overall I'd rate the row "uneventful", which isn't intended as a compliment. Whilst it was fair enough, and we didn't slow ourselves down, we didn't do quite enough to speed ourselves up. Good points were a decent rating ~30-32 and a fairly consistent pace (starting at 1:50 I think, and dropping to around 2:00, but I lost the GPS track due to the watch being silly, argh) which says something for our fitness I think. And, though the balance wasn't fine, it was easily rowable. Bad points were shortness of strokes and a lack of ooph. However, for a second crew at this time of year it was pretty good.

Afterwards: breakfast in Tischka's, coffee in W'stones; meet MED in ex-Heffers artshop where we buy candlemaking stuff and Fimo (E is inspired by a lady there demonstrating swirly-pattern making on pencils). Then back to W'stones for coffee and more Surface Detail. Lose D's gloves, buy him and me some more.

Soir: to River Bar for Paul's Stag do. Which was good; but the less said the better.

Friday 19 November 2010

Fun running

Tis the annual science park fun run. Last year I managed 7:40 but was somewhat injured (before, not by). This year (not to keep you in suspense) I got 7:06, which is rather better. James Timmins got 6:59 though, good for him. Full results here.

The pic is me (behind, in orange) handing over the baton at the end of lap one to James. James was a late sub in for us: on the morning of the run Stephen "quitter" Bennett wimped out with some feeble excuse about a cough, but he did rope James in for us. Kevin bravely ran through his shin splints for lap 3 in 7:40, and Ian the Jones brought up our rear in lap 4 with just-under-10: 9:52. Had Ian come in with 7:52 our team time would have been 29:37 (instead of 31:37) we'd have been about 1/4 of the way down the teams; as it was we were 1/2 way down.

Weather: lovely if cool.

CSR won overall (again). Here are Maz, Jerome, Dan and Neil Sunderland.

3:57 pace over 1.84 km. Good!

End note: I just realised ( that I was faster than all but 5 women, and was 105 out of 560-odd overall.

Damien at CSR took this:


which is rather good and (coincidentally I think) of me. One orange in a sea of white.

Tom C took this:


We really need to learn how to be photographed.